Hundreds of Turkish Firms Invest in Iraqi Kurdistan

Hundreds of Turkish firms have flocked to the semi-independent Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq, benefiting from a newly issued law easing curbs on foreign investments.

Latest figures by the Kurdistan Investment Commission show that more than half of the foreign firms in the enclave are Turkish.

In a statement, the commission said there were 620 Turkish firms out of the total 1200 foreign firms in the Kurdish region.

The region comprises the provinces of Arbil, Dahouk and Sulamaniya. The relatively large Turkish investment in the region signals better ties following a long period of mistrust between the Kurds and the Turks.

However, relations are likely to be affected if Ankara goes through with its plans to launch a large-scale military offensive to flush out Turkish Kurdish rebels who are using northern Iraq as a refuge and a springboard for attacks on Turkish security forces.

Ankara is also concerned about the fate of Turkmen, ethnic Iraqi Turks, many of them live in towns and villages which the Kurds would like to add to their autonomous enclave.

Iraqi Turkmen and Arabs both Shiites and Sunnis, living in these towns, say they would prefer administration by the central government in Baghdad to Kurdish dominance.

( Azzaman )

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